Each August, we celebrate Water Quality Month, dedicated to preserving and maximizing freshwater resources worldwide. The genesis of this observation began after the passage of two critical acts in 1972 and 1974 – the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. However, there is no need to observe a designated observation to realize the value of clean water in our everyday lives and include lessons on water quality in any curriculum.
Additionally, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) developed by the UN General Assembly provide a blueprint for achieving a more sustainable future for all. For instance, Goal 6 addresses the issue of securing access to safe drinking water and sanitation. Find out more about the Sustainable Development Goals here and use the TeachersFirst Special Topics Page with resources related to the Sustainable Development Goals to find information and web resources for all grade levels.
Here are some ideas to help incorporate Water Quality Month into any classroom:
Lessons and Activities:
EarthEcho International (reviewed here) – EarthEcho offers middle and high school lessons, action guides, and virtual events (ex: Ocean Acidification Day of Action). Browse the educator resources to find a program, grade level, resource type, and topic information.
Something Fishy (reviewed here) – Something Fishy is an education program from Ireland created for elementary students and educators. Follow the links to find resources for students and educators. The kids’ section includes eight lessons presented with an introductory video and an accompanying PowerPoint presentation.
The Watershed Game (reviewed here) – This game features two levels – novice and intermediate. Novice is for 3rd and 4th grade to introduce the basics and definition of a watershed. The intermediate level puts the player in charge of ensuring a healthy watershed by making decisions about recreation, agriculture, transportation, and other items that impact a watershed area.
Across the World Once a Week (XW1W) – This collaborative weekly Twitter activity for elementary and middle-school classrooms focuses on exploring different Sustainable Development Goals each month. Learn more about XW1W in Kevin Bower’s Sustainable Development Goals in the Middle-Level Classroom post.
Water Quality Science Fair Projects:
Utah State University offers a list of ideas for science fair projects related to water quality for grades K-12. Each project also includes a difficulty level, making it easier to differentiate instruction or gauge project usefulness for individual classroom needs and expectations.
Protecting Our Water Sources: Student Activities for the Classroom is a printable document sharing water resource activities for students in grades K-9th grade. Choose from grade-level appropriate activities that include an exploration of aquariums with too many nutrients or observing decaying substances and water pollution. All activities include a list of easy-to-find materials needed.
Resources for Students to Share Learning:
Canva for Education (reviewed here) – use and modify templates found on Canva to create infographics about water quality, make Water Quality Month posters, or even short videos. Tip: narrow your search to clean water and TikTok video options to use as a starting point for videos.
Genially (reviewed here) – create interactive presentations in various formats. For example, search for inspiration using “clean water” to find a video presentation template titled “My Life as a Water Droplet,” a water preservation template, and a personalized quiz on Sustainability and the Environment.
Keep these resources in mind when considering teaching materials and resources for the upcoming school year to engage and inform your students about water quality.
What are your go-to ideas and resources for teaching about water quality? We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments below!